Dubai’s end-of-service savings scheme for expatriates working in government departments will be implemented from July 1, authorities have announced. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the entity responsible for supervising the implementation of the scheme, have held multiple virtual meetings with senior executives from various government entities to discuss the plan. The launch of the scheme was approved in March 2022 by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of The Executive Council.
The scheme aims to attract and retain talent by providing an integrated system that offers various savings opportunities for employees to secure their present and future.
The scheme conceptualised after the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) plan, targets expatriates in Dubai government entities in the first stage, with the scope of expanding its implementation in later stages. Alya Hussain AlZarouni, executive vice-president – Operations, DIFC Authority, said: “This comprehensive savings plan is utilised for retirement planning and aligns with global best practices. The approach is a first for the region and over time, we expect other cities and countries to adopt a similar approach in the coming years.
“Together with industry leaders such as Equiom, Zurich and Mercer, we will continue to provide a best-in-class offering, reforming the workplace savings landscape.”
Mohammad AlHawi, director of Policies and Strategies, Economic Development at the General Secretariat of The Executive Council of Dubai, said the scheme will play a “key role” in enhancing the economic and social stability that the government offers its employees.
Iman Saleh bin Khatam, director of Policy and Programme Support of Dubai Government Human Resources Department, said: “The savings scheme will enable employers to manage and fund the end-of-service benefits efficiently while offering foreign employees a way to save and invest with confidence. With DEWS, we empower employees to take control of their financial future.”
UAE’s historic space mission ends with astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s return
UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his fellow Crew-6 members have successfully returned to Earth, concluding their historic space mission. The crew members safely disembarked from the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with assistance from SpaceX recovery personnel. Al Neyadi, the last to exit the spacecraft, completed the process exactly one hour after the splashdown.
Welcome home, #Crew6!
— NASA (@NASA) September 4, 2023
Crew-6’s remarkable space mission spanned an impressive 186 days, setting a new record as the longest mission in Arab history. The Dragon capsule made a secure touchdown off the Florida coast at 8:17 am on a Monday, with Al Neyadi emerging from the Dragon spacecraft just an hour later. During this mission, Al Neyadi achieved significant milestones, elevating the UAE’s status in the global space arena. He completed the longest-ever space mission by an Arab, spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and conducting groundbreaking scientific experiments for the betterment of humanity and scientific advancement.
As Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s second astronaut, emerged from the Dragon spacecraft, he greeted onlookers with a smile and a wave. It’s worth noting that astronauts returning from extended periods in space often experience an adjustment period as they readapt to Earth’s gravity. The recovery process for the crew may take up to two hours to ensure their well-being after this remarkable mission.
UAE’s economic agreements with Turkey and Indonesia spring into action
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is entering a new era of economic collaboration with two rapidly growing global players as it activates two of its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs). The UAE-Türkiye CEPA and the UAE-Indonesia CEPA have officially come into force, setting the stage for enhanced trade and investment cooperation.
The primary goal of these CEPAs is to foster economic ties by doubling non-oil trade. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA aims to elevate bilateral non-oil trade to an impressive $40 billion within five years, while the UAE’s CEPA with Indonesia seeks to push non-oil trade beyond $10 billion within the same timeframe. These agreements also aim to facilitate investment projects valued at $10 billion in various sectors.
In the words of HE Al-Zeyoudi, “The implementation of our CEPAs with Türkiye and Indonesia marks a significant step forward in our foreign trade program. Both agreements will unlock significant opportunities for our private sector in two of the world’s most dynamic centers of growth.”
These CEPAs are the third and fourth of their kind to come into force for the UAE, following successful agreements with India in May 2022 and Israel in April 2023. They are a testament to the UAE’s foreign trade agenda, strategically forging robust economic connections with nations of global importance. Both CEPAs promise to reduce or remove tariffs on a wide range of goods, eliminate trade barriers, and create pathways for investments in vital sectors like logistics, energy, food production, fintech, e-commerce, and travel and tourism.
The UAE-Indonesia CEPA, inked in Abu Dhabi in July 2022, aims to significantly boost bilateral non-oil trade from $4.08 billion to over $10 billion within five years. Additionally, the agreement targets a combined trade in services worth $630 million by 2030. Notably, over 80 percent of UAE exports to Indonesia will now be exempt from customs duties under this pact. This partnership also has an eye on nurturing the rapidly expanding Islamic economy, projected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2024. It will accelerate investment projects worth $10 billion across sectors like agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and logistics. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA is equally impactful, having eliminated or reduced customs duties on 82 percent of product lines, accounting for more than 93 percent of bilateral non-oil trade. Türkiye was the UAE’s fastest-growing top ten trading partner in 2022, witnessing a 40 percent increase in non-oil trade to $18.9 billion. The newly liberalized trade environment is set to drive this figure to an impressive $40 billion within the next five years.
HE Al Zeyoudi also stressed that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements play a vital role in attaining the nation’s objectives, in particular the vision laid out in “We The UAE 2031”, which seeks to double the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade to AED4 trillion and elevate national exports to AED800 billion. The recently published statistics from H1, 2023, which show a record non-oil foreign trade value of AED1.239 trillion for the first six months of the year, demonstrate that the UAE is firmly on track – and that the CEPA program will help maintain this upward trajectory.
Elon Musk’s ‘X’ unveils audio and video calling features to come
In a significant development, Elon Musk’s social media platform, formerly known as Twitter and now rebranded as “X,” is poised to introduce video and audio calling features. The announcement was made by Musk himself on August 31, when he took to the platform to declare, “Video & audio calls coming to X.”
This move is part of Musk’s broader vision to transform X into what he calls an “everything app.” Notably, these features will be accessible across a range of operating systems, including iOS, Android, Mac, and PC. Importantly, users won’t be required to share their phone numbers to avail themselves of these communication capabilities. According to Musk, the app is being positioned as an “effective global address book,” emphasizing its multifaceted utility.
Video & audio calls coming to X:
– Works on iOS, Android, Mac & PC
– No phone number needed
– X is the effective global address book
That set of factors is unique.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 31, 2023
As X continues to evolve and expand its offerings, it appears poised to diversify its services well beyond its initial identity as a micro blogging platform. The introduction of video and audio calling, coupled with its positioning as a comprehensive address book, underscores Musk’s ambition to make X an integral part of users’ digital lives. The platform’s growing foray into data collection and utilization also raises important questions about privacy and data security, which will likely be closely scrutinized as these changes take effect.